Study links nutritional supplement to a reduced risk of preterm birth

Study links nutritional supplement to a reduced risk of preterm birth

Increasing evidence suggests that a mother’s nutritional status at the onset of pregnancy has an important influence on the growth and development of her baby, and that a good nutritional status during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. A specific blend of nutrients and probiotics was tested in an international multicentre double blind randomised controlled trial NiPPeR (Nutritional Intervention Preconception and during Pregnancy to maintain healthy glucosE levels and offspRing health). Researchers from the international EpiGen Global Research Consortium, an academic group of clinicians and scientists, specifically assessed the effects of a nutritional intervention, a combination of myo-inositol, probiotics and micronutrients, consumed both before and during pregnancy, on maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in pregnancy and sustaining a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

As published in the journal Diabetes Care, (Myo-inositol, Probiotics and Micronutrient Supplementation from Preconception for Glycemia in Pregnancy: NiPPeR International Multi-center Double-blind Randomized Controlled Trial with DoI) the NiPPeR study involved 1,729 women from the U.K., New Zealand and Singapore who were planning pregnancy – one of the largest international preconception randomised controlled trials of its type.

While the study found that the intervention did not influence the mother’s blood sugar levels or birthweights of the 585 babies born, the nutritional supplement decreased the incidence of preterm birth, particularly the cases associated with preterm pre-labour rupture of membranes.

Associate Professor Shiao-Yng Chan, a principal investigator on the study from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, deputy executive director at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, A*STAR, and Senior Consultant, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, National University Hospital, commented “One of the strengths of our study is the diversity of its participants as we have involved women of multiple ethnicities from the general population across three countries, which means that the outcomes have wide relevance to women planning for pregnancy. Additionally, the study included blinded intervention and control groups, so bias is minimised.”

The NiPPeR study is led by a team from the EpiGen Global Research Consortium, who developed the trial in collaboration with researchers at Nestlé Research. The Consortium involves researchers at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU), University of Southampton, National University of Singapore (NUS) and National University Health System (NUHS), Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and the Liggins Institute and Auckland UniServices at the University of Auckland.

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